How to Use Leftovers for a Fresh New Meal

Turn those leftovers into a meal that your family will flip for the second time around. Instead of just reheating and re-eating, transform that extra scoop of mashed potatoes or chili into a dish that wows. Check out these 12 creative recipes for a little leftover inspiration. No one will know you're making room in the refrigerator; instead they'll be making room on their plates!

1. Turkey Stew

Have you run out of ideas of what to do with all that leftover turkey from the holidays? This hearty turkey stew from What Should I Make For... comes together in a snap thanks to the roasted turkey. The rich, creamy broth is teeming with veggies and and fresh herbs and is just begging to be sopped up with a tender, flaky biscuit.

2. Steak and Egg Biscuits

Last night's steak turns into a breakfast of champions when paired with biscuits, melted provolone cheese, and perfectly fried eggs. Have a napkin handy to mop up that runny yolk when you sink your teeth into this steak and egg biscuit sandwich from Ease and Carrots. This sandy is so good you'll wish you had leftovers of your leftovers.

3. Waldorf Chicken Salad

Crunchy, creamy, sweet, and savory... This Waldorf chicken salad from What Should I Make For... has it all! Sweet red grapes, crunchy toasted pecans, tart apples, and tangy Greek yogurt combine with leftover roasted chicken for a super tasty salad. Pile it between two slices of hearty multi-grain bread for a satisfying lunch, or dollop a scoop onto a bed of greens for a light dinner.

4. Leftover Lamb Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Tender leftover roasted lamb gets slathered with tangy tzatziki sauce and folded into a warm pita in this yummy lamb gyro from Just a Little Bit of Bacon. Set up all the fixings and let your family make their own for a fresh and bright dinner that can be on the table in minutes!

5. Tortilla Chip Mexican Pizza

Tuesday's tacos become Wednesday's dinner in this crunchy, cheesy Mexican pizza from Taste of Lizzy T's. Leftover seasoned taco meat and those bottom-of-the-bag broken tortilla chips get layered with gooey cheese and tomato sauce for a Mexican pizza that will have your family clamoring for more. Simple, thrifty, and oh-so-tasty, your leftovers just got promoted to fiesta fare.

6. Quick Chicken Quesadillas

Back to school means less time for fussy meals. Pull together this weeknight wonder in a flash for a post-school, pre-practice meal in minutes. Whip up these quick quesadillas from Ease and Carrots using leftover chicken, beef, or beans plus your favorite cheese for a dinner you can grab and go.

7. Scoopski Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are just never the same reheated. But fold in sharp cheddar, pancetta, and chives and form into patties and you have these outrageous potato pancakes from What Should I Make For... They are creamy inside, crispy outside, and a perfect side dish for breakfast or dinner.

8. Salmon Quinoa Cakes

Leftover salmon gets a second life in these tender salmon cakes from Little Broken. Flaked salmon and nutty quinoa are a winning combo in these fish cakes that can deliciously top off a salad or get tucked into a pita pocket for a healthy, simple meal for lunch or dinner. Delicious served warm or cold, you'll be wondering why you didn't make these the first time around.

9. Chili Cheese Enchiladas

A big pot of spicy chili is a tailgating must, but chances are you'll be left with a bowl or two to spare. Smother cheese-filled tortillas with all that meaty goodness in this easy recipe for weeknight enchiladas from Buns in My Oven. A little cheese sprinkled over the top and a quick trip to the oven transforms those leftovers into a family favorite meal.

10. Leftover Roast Vegetable Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette

Chop up last night's roasted veggies and steak and toss it with crunchy salad greens for a nutritious and light lunch. A drizzle of shallot vinaigrette over this roast vegetable salad from Just a Little Bit of Bacon is just what you've been craving. The caramelized vegetables and vibrant dressing make eating right good for your waistline and your taste buds!

11. Mini Spaghetti Pies

The kid in you will go nuts for these mini spaghetti pies from Cook. Craft. Love. Spoon your leftover pasta into muffin tins, drizzle with sauce, and fold in creamy cheese for a cute and quick meal. These individual servings are perfect for little hands and big appetites.

12. Individual Shepherd's Pies

Here's one more way to turn your leftover mashed potatoes into a meal. This shepherd's pie from What Should I Make For... is a hearty, satisfying one-pot dish with a mashed potato crust piped in decorative swirls. You can use a piping bag for an extra pretty appearance, or just dollop the potatoes and smooth. Either way, the browned mashed potatoes and delicious, meaty stew prove yet again that sometimes the second time's the charm!

Tonight's Dinner Is Planned

Spiralized sweet potato makes a hearty and healthy base for this sweet and savory dish. Apple, chicken, and spinach add complex and delicious flavor.


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